Selection of September 2019: Aqua Nature by Gil Gautier

Aqua Nature by Gil Gautier

This image is a part of the series ‘Aqua Nature’ made in 2017, a work around blue shades. I have identified this spot during one of my many trekkings in the outdoors. Although there were not so many Odonates in this place, the light was very special and this was the particular colour I was looking for.

I always go out with a general idea in mind. Above all, I look for light, an inspiring place, an appropriate environment. Then I think about how the main subject can be “integrated” with that environment. I like to follow this pattern of work, whatever the subject, a chamois, an ant, a flower, a bird. Some people may think it is a constraint, however to me, it is not, as I decided to impose it on myself.

Regarding the technical aspect, I used a D600 Nikon, a 180 mm macro Sigma lens + TC1.4 giving me a focal length of 250 mm. The area was shady at the end of day in June. If you know Calopterix species, you understand that finding this animal in the shade is a challenge, as it is fond of light and sun. On the other hand, it is not fearful and its predictable behaviour makes it relatively easy to frame. Regarding framing, there is a rule I always follow: I first define what framing I want and then I take the picture. Therefore, I never crop the picture in post production. It is my way of thinking and working. If I want a close-up, then I move toward my subject. As far as this image is concerned, the framing has been guided by the presence of both plants that are important elements in the picture.

I am going to talk now about post processing, this taboo subject, a sensitive issue and an open secret as well. I applied a slight “S- curve” in my Raw format with the soft Capture NX-D of Nikon. I adjusted the white balance and the colour, in order to be consistent with the other images in this series. In my video, such a process is called “calibration”. In this particular case, the image demanded more work; I used the soft ACDSEE to add Cyan to balance the colours. Final modifications of that colour balance have been applied differently, with the objective of having a homogeneous series of pictures taken on different days with various light and luminosity.

More details can be found in the video “lost in paradise” 

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